By Stephanie Woodward |Staff Writer|
College campuses need to help make their students feel safe and comfortable about coming forward and reporting sexual assault.
The number of reported sexual assaults on college campuses increased from an average 12 in 2011 to 20 in 2013, according to an America Tonight analysis of campus crime statistics.
Emma Sulkowicz, a visual arts senior at Columbia University, claimed she was sexually assaulted in her dorm room two years ago.
Sulkowicz has vowed to carry a twin-sized mattress for her senior thesis project all over campus until her alleged attacker, another student, is expelled, prosecuted, or chooses to leave on his own.
Sulkowicz said she is taking matters into her own hands because she believes her school has failed to take action.
Her parents, Sandra and Kerry Sulkowicz, have also recently published a letter to Columbia voicing their displeasure with the mishandling of their daughter’s alleged attack.
In their open letter to President Lee Bollinger and the board of trustees they described the school’s efforts as “prolonged, degrading and an ultimately fruitless process.”
According to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, one in four women will be a victim of sexual assault in their college career.
It is my opinion that students should be able to feel safe on campus, especially in their own dorm room.
There are blue emergency kiosks scattered across campus along with police on site to ensure safety.
It is shocking to me how common and normalized rape is becoming and that it even has its own subculture.
“Rape culture” has become normalized due to social attitudes about gender, sex and sexuality through victim blaming and denial.
Sexual assaults are often overlooked and brushed off since it is becoming such a norm in our culture, which, to me, is unacceptable.
The victim is frequently blamed and shunned after the incident while the attacker is forgotten.
I believe many women are now afraid to come forward after assaults due to the backlash they receive.
“I have heard so many stories about how the victim becomes the one under attack, so, that would make me fearful,” said senior Shelby John.
“Even if I did go to the authorities, I feel like they would forget about it unless I pursued it myself,” said junior Ariana Gomez.
The Title IX notice of the Education Amendments prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, or sexual orientation, and protects all people from sex discrimination including sexual harassment.
If you need to report any type of sexual assault on campus, contact campus police immediately and our Title IX coordinator at [email protected] to report the incident.